Monday, 2 April 2012

Two from Goldsborough

Lovely day on Sunday and this is what happened. Rosie also did Jumping Jack Flash but we didn't catch it on camera.

Two from Goldsborough from Michael Stainthorpe on Vimeo.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Quest for the Holy Grail

I would give you some more info but I think the video covers it.
Full Screen and volume up loud if you please.
(you may wish to click the "watch on you tube link", for some reason the embedded vids on here load really slowly for me)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

January so far

Winter took a while to get here this year but it seems it finally remembered we were sat indoors waiting for the heat to go on holiday for another year. And so it did. And we did climb. And we have achieved several goals.

The first day of note was a trip to Hepburn with a view to try and get Preparation H done. As sometimes happens, I was distracted by some other hot of the first ascent press problem, which looked rather good. Dan Varian was on hand to provide beta (as it was indeed his very own problem) and after a scuffle here and a tussle there I was stood on top a happy man. It's called Trivial Pursuits, 7c. Previous to this I'd done the arete “Titanic” on both it's sides. Better on the right, should you care. I didn't even get round to trying Prepers, as we shifted on to Back Bowden. I felt pretty tired by this time but had a few goes on The Bitch, but struggled to hang the two hard moves, it didn't feel totally out of reach though. Dan popped over muttering something about showing the Count of Essex his arse or something? Strange boy. He did however inform me that there was now an improved foothold for the crux move on The Bitch. It looked natural but he tried the move and said it was a bit easier than when he'd done it in the summer.

Here are some photo's of Trivial Pursuits by Mark Savage:

Next day out was with Nick to Hangman's, where I'd never been before. This was the day of wind. There are really only two problems here so I was keen to get em done and not have to do the walk in again. The wind made it bitterly cold, jokes aside it was to the level where we were nearly getting whipped off the rock and down the hill. Strangely, both the problems are given 7c despite one being twice as hard as the other. Despite the efforts the grades made to confuse me, I managed them both. Paranoia is really good climbing. Shame there's not much more there really. Such is life.
As it's round the corner and in the trees we scuttled off to Hepburn again. I was keen to show Nick Trivial and thought it might be the time for prepers. Sadly the battering the wind had given us had seemingly drawn all our energy out. I was also about 6th day on at this point and nothing happened worthy of a mention.

Next day was Caley. Unlike the previous two times it was neither wet or warm so there were no excuses. To keep a short story short, I warmed up on a couple of the moves and the top out of Zoo York, then did it second go from the sit, which I was pretty happy with. In a bit more detail; I kept my heel beta (no toe hooks) and it worked really well. [as an update to the toe hooking issues described last time, I did borrow a sportiva solution and it turns out its just dragons that don't toe hook so I don't feel quite so bad] The top out was a little sketchy as I wasn't fully warm and had precisely 0% feeling in my fingers, causing all but my back to to slip off the final crimp as I watched in horror. I thought, fuck it and went for it anyway and moved slowly towards the more slopey finishing holds. As I grabbed the more rounded top holds a little bit of feeling came back into my hands and the top out felt fine. I read somewhere on the internet that one of my mates, a horse dressed in black, then made an ascent of something “significant” at the crag. Better watch

to find out more about that.

The closing chapter of this short story is set back in Northumberland. We went to Callaly to try The Young. It's been said a thousand times before but this really is amazing. Cool to climb too. There was a bit in the middle that felt a bit stretched out and the final moves are nails and you're in a very dangerous position. It didn't get climbed that day, but I'm sure it will some day soon. The whole day was bitterly cold due to the orientation and lack of sun, so the next day we went to Bowden Doors for some sun. There are still a lot of things I haven't done and was in the mood to just try what took my fancy. We warmed up at the roof and I did V crimps 3rd go, which isn't bad as far as I'm concerned. I then proceeded not to do Born Lippy, Pulp Friction and Honeycomb wall. I'm very keen to go back on Honeycomb, hopefully get it soon! Some very strong young lads climbed rather well that day too. All the above received ascents and additionally so did Working Class sit, maybe there'll the a UKC article about it?

Monday, 26 December 2011

Ho ho holds! & I'm dreaming of a white christmas BOARD!

I spent all of November working in Scotland, bolting bits of steel together. In total I climbed twice through the month; once to check out the new Climbing Academy in Glasgow and once to compete in Climb Newcastle's winter series. The Climbing Academy is a really good wall, very impressive and to my eyes the biggest bouldering wall in the UK. They've certainly got tons of space should they want to go even bigger!

The Climbing Academy, Glasgow

The comp at Climb Newcastle was fun, though I was pretty tired after working a full day humping steel in Glasgow then driving home before the comp. I also had a horrendous blood blister from dropping a large bit of iron on it. (Winge winge excuses excuses). So after getting my excuses out, I managed 2nd with Nigel Callender coming first.

Oww! Mega blood blister

As for real climbing... It's been very few and far between.

After watching Chris' vid:

Chris Graham's crazy toe hooks! Good effort Chris.

I got psyched and went to try prep H at Hepburn. I spent quite a long while trying to use his beta before realising it was crazy and sacking it off. I kinda figured out my own sequence I think but ended up too tired to make any serious headway. Will have to go back for another session on that one.

Heading south, we had a fun day at Caley the other week. I was keen to try Zoo York. After much ado about toe hooks (I'll come back to this) I found a sequence I could do that didn't use any. I was really psyched to get it done in a day for two reasons:

1) I've never done an 8a in a session before
2) Caley is rarely in a condition you can climb on it

I didn't manage it. I just felt too tired to link it. The moves are awesome and I'm really keen to get back again for the link. So keen in fact that I returned the day after next... to find the top of the problem literally soaking. I spent a while drying it to a reasonable level (though my hands were very wet after the test climb). This was my best effort of about 4 goes:

Chubublu, The heel goes UNDER the hand dumby!

I felt even more tired than I had done at the end of my first session! Weird? Oh well one for next time it's dry down there!

I can't do em. It's always been in my mind that they're not my strongest point but only recently have I noticed just quite how bad I am at them.

In the second round of Climb Newcastle's winter league there was a problem with only toe hooks on the arete for the start and it really stumped me. I found it really really hard and didn't even do it never mind flash it! Two days later I was at Zoo York figuring out the moves. I think it is customary to toe hook at least once on the problem but I just couldn't get them to work! Thinking back there are a long list of problems where I couldn't get anything off the toe hook and ended up trying to find a different way or just simply not doing it: Zoo York, Queen Kong, La Pelle, L'apparement, Prep H (Chris' method).

Out of these, L'apparement is the only one where you really need to toe hook. Unfortunately I really want to do that problem so I better work out how to train to get better at it!

Now, to address the title:

I've taken the Christmas break as a good time to refurbish the board. It's been stripped:


and I've starting making some new holds

including a mono-pinch!

I'll post a pic and maybe a video once there are some holds on it! Just a case of waiting for the paint to dry...

Here is a vid of my previous hardest problem before the big change up:

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Lots of coaching at Durham

The staff and management at Durham Climbing Center have been really proactive of late to try and improve their clients' experience of using the wall. Although this wall maybe doesn't have the highest volume of climbing in the UK it is really good to see the team trying to give their customers a great experience. Once a wall is established then regular high quality route setting is the most important thing in my opinion to keeping people coming back and Durham have recently been employing myself and Mick Page quite a lot to ensure that this is the case. On top of that there have been a number of events such as adult and junior competitions, informal Tuesday night coaching and also a workshop on how to use their latest bit of wall, the "Beastmaker" training board.

When I was asked to put together a 2hr coaching workshop I was at first a bit daunted, however, after taking the first step of putting pen to paper I was amazed at how much I had to say about the subject - maybe using all my spare time researching the Internet for training advice over the past 10 years wasn't such a waste of time? I kicked the session off by gathering the group round my laptop screen for a youtube viewing of Splinter (below).

With everyone suitably psyched, we went through pretty much everything to do with using this style of training device, from the blurry distinction between "training" and "climbing" as the video of Malcolm displays so well, to the relative merits of training on a board rather than other tools such as fingerboards or campus boards and not forgetting the specific aspects of actually training on the board itself! The session went really well and I think everyone came away a lot more confident to take a more structured approach to their training and start really getting the most out of this great bit of wood!

Michael Daglish was also on hand playing with his cameras as usual so lookout for a bit of footage from the session soon...

Additionally I've also been at Durham for the past couple of Tuesdays to lead their informal, open to everyone coaching sessions. The relaxed atmosphere with these session doesn't really make them feel tat much like work but I suppose thats an advantage of your job also being what you do in your free time anyway! It is really cool to be able to help people out in such an informal manor, with different people after different levels of coaching ranging from beta / demos of a problem to specific advice on how to address their weaknesses. This all being in a friendly chatty atmosphere makes it great fun and I look forward to doing more of these in the future!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Website is live!

I've been meaning to get this sorted for a while now, so it's great to finally get a website uploaded to the internet. Lots of work still to do but I think it's a good start!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

An evening at Shaftoe

Last month I went out to Shaftoe and managed to get these two problems on video. The quality seems to have been reduced by vimeo for some reason. I'll try and get it sorted for next time.